Jodi Mcalister

Jodi Mcalister
Deakin University · School of Communication and Creative Arts

Doctor of Philosophy

About

59
Publications
3,161
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41
Citations

Publications

Publications (59)
Book
The term 'new adult' was coined in 2009 by St Martin's Press, when they sought submissions for a contest for 'fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult – a sort of 'older YA' or 'new adult'.' However, the literary category that later emerged bore less resemblance to young adult fiction and instead became a sub-genre of anoth...
Article
The TV recap has become one of the most ubiquitous forms of criticism in contemporary media culture, proliferating across multiple media spheres and domains. At its simplest, it provides an opportunity for people to catch up with what they have missed. However, it is also a space for engaging with reactions to a program: an inherently affective and...
Article
Full-text available
The romance plot is one of the most pervasive narratives in Western society. It is a cultural masterplot: a story with which almost everyone is familiar, which can deeply and intrinsically shape the way we think about how we live. This article examines how people interact with the romance masterplot and how it affects their search for love on datin...
Article
On 12 March 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced a lockdown of Manila to stop the spread of COVID-19. The cities, provinces, and islands of the Philippines remained under various levels of community quarantine for the remainder of the year. Under the strictest lockdown measures, known as Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), no one a...
Article
Live literature – events where literature is the dominant art form presented or performed – is a highly visible form of contemporary book culture. In this article, we examine the live reading events organised by #RomanceClass in the Philippines as a case study, using a digital ethnography method which draws on fieldnotes, interviews, social media c...
Article
Full-text available
#RomanceClass is a community which encompasses the authors, readers, actors, and artists who consume, produce, and enact mostly self-published English-language romance fiction in the Philippines. Drawing on fieldwork undertaken in 2019, this article explores the key characteristics of #RomanceClass, including the ways in which positions itself in r...
Chapter
This chapter offers a close analysis and historicisation of the stories in the virginity loss confessional genre. It contends that virginity loss stories can either be described as active (“I made it happen”) or passive (“it just happened”), and common narrative patterns include the lesson, rape, surrender, conversion, and romantic consummation. It...
Chapter
This chapter gives the historical background for the emergence of the discourse of compulsory demisexuality in the West. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, it traces a history of the ways in which female sexual desire was culturally imagined and pathologised, and how these intersected with narratives of romantic love. It contends that as the...
Chapter
This conclusion contends that the most important shift in the sexual politics of virginity loss in the West in the last century has been the rise of the paradigm of compulsory demisexuality. It argues that romantic love has offered possibilities for agency for women, especially in their sex lives, but the ongoing assumption that sexual desire and r...
Chapter
This chapter examines the portrayal of the virgin heroine in contemporary category romance fiction, especially that published by Harlequin Mills & Boon. It traces the evolution of the representation of virginity loss alongside the development of the publisher, beginning in 1908. It examines the ways in which the representation of the virgin heroine...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on the virginity loss confessional genre, which consists of anthologies and websites which collate and curate autobiographical stories of virginity loss. It examines the origins of the practice of telling virginity loss stories, tracing a history from turn-of-the-century wedding night stories, through second-wave feminist consc...
Chapter
This chapter examines the portrayal of the virgin heroine in historical romance fiction. It offers an overview of the development of popular romance fiction and the criticism of it, focusing particularly on feminist approaches to the representation of love and sex in the genre. It argues that in historical romance, virginity loss is represented in...
Chapter
Compulsory demisexuality, the cultural narrative which dictates that for women, romantic love and sexual desire should be analogous
Chapter
This chapter examines the portrayal of virginity loss in twenty-first-century blockbusters Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, and, in particular, interrogates the way virginity loss scenes in these texts were responded to by Amazon reviewers. These reviews regularly position the reader of both texts as virginal, and worry about the deleterious mess...
Chapter
This chapter offers a history of the concept of virginity in Western culture. It argues that what virginity means has varied enormously, noting that at various times it has been imagined as something both physical and/or spiritual. It outlines the ways in which virginity has been imagined in economic and religious contexts, and explores the links b...
Book
'This lively and clever book gave me a new concept: “compulsory demisexuality” as the governing law of romance for female sexual behavior. Making brilliant and original use of virginity loss confessionals and romance novels, McAlister crafts a highly readable interdisciplinary tour-de-force, of equal relevance to cultural studies, history, and lite...
Article
At the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Canadian ice dance pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won two gold medals, making them the most decorated Olympic figure skaters of all time. However, it was not their on-ice achievements that dominated coverage; rather, it was the possibility that were in an off-ice romantic relationship. This article...
Conference Paper
Fantasy has played an important generic role in children’s literature. Works by authors like CS Lewis, Susan Cooper, and Ursula K. Le Guin are among foundational twentieth century texts, and with the emergence of middle grade and young adult blockbusters like the Harry Potter series (1997-2007) and the Twilight saga (2005-2008) saw fantastical fict...
Article
The Bachelor/ette is a franchise with iterations in multiple major Anglophone countries. It began in the USA in 2002, but in the last five years, new versions of the franchise have emerged, including in Australia (2013-). While The Bachelor/ette is an instantly recognisable global franchise, local cultural priorities inflect both the show and the w...
Conference Paper
The genre term “new adult” was coined by publisher St Martin’s Press in 2009, when they held a competition soliciting “fiction similar to YA [young adult] that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an ‘older YA’ or ‘new adult’”. This competition is generally held to be the origin of the genre category now commonly referred as “new adult”...
Article
This article inverts the title of Hayden White’s 1974 essay ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’ by exploring literary texts as historical artifacts. It uses three novels published by Australian women writers in the mid-nineteenth century—Catherine Helen Spence’s Clara Morison (1854), Caroline Louisa Atkinson’s Gertrude the Emigrant (1857), a...
Chapter
The love story has historically been one that has proved problematic for serialisation across multiple media. This is a narrative with a distinct trajectory: protagonists meet, fall in love and live happily ever after. Once this final milestone has been reached, and the characters are together, what opportunities are there for future storytelling?...
Article
This essay analyses the declarations of love in six popular romantic novels written by female Australian writers published in the latter half of the nineteenth century. By doing so, it seeks to explore the effect of the colonial Australian setting on the ways in which romantic love is imagined and constructed in the texts. Drawing on the work of Mo...
Article
The Bachelor/ette franchise is ‘not just global, but “glocal”’. While the format remains essentially the same across different territories, local cultural priorities inflect the show in various ways. This paper explores the variance in local attitudes towards romance by analysing the final declarations of love from 2013 to 2017 across the American...
Conference Paper
Romance is the most prolific and profitable popular genre globally and, with rare exception, all positions in the production, distribution, and reception of popular romance publishing are occupied by women. The category romance novels published around the world by Harlequin Mills & Boon are emblematic of the textual, social, and industrial dimensio...
Conference Paper
The Bachelor/ette is a franchise with iterations in multiple major Anglophone countries. It began in the USA in 2002, but in the last five years, new versions of the franchise have emerged in the UK (2011-12), Canada (2012-), Australia (2013-), and New Zealand (2015-). While The Bachelor/ette is an instantly recognisable global franchise, the proli...
Conference Paper
In Consuming the Romantic Utopia, Eva Illouz argues that as romantic love evolved in a secular society, it “took on the properties of ritual,” by drawing on utopian notions of “abundance, individualism, and creative self-fulfilment” which are then “experienced through the cyclical performance of rituals of consumption” (1997, 8). While in some sens...
Conference Paper
Unlike the United States, The Bachelor/ette franchise is relatively new to Australia, with the first season of The Bachelor Australia airing in 2013. Since the inception of the franchise, a strong fan culture has emerged. The most famous articulation of this has been Rosie Waterland’s recaps for MamaMia, but in 2017, a multitude of recaps (includin...
Conference Paper
As scholars such as Hsu-Ming Teo, Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver have noted, Australian romantic novels of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century include an emphasis on the inability of romantic love to survive on the Australian landscape alongside more “standard” romance narratives (Teo 2014; Gelder and Weaver 2010). This paper, which is a...
Conference Paper
To date, scholarship on popular romance fiction by Australian writers has focused largely on textual analysis, but popular genres are also commercial and material phenomena. In Australia, ‘Mills & Boon’ – as label and object – has long been a compact signifier for an entire genre, but there are signs that its status and meaning is changing in the a...
Conference Paper
Unlike the United States, The Bachelor/ette franchise – affectionately known as “Bachie” – is relatively new to Australia, its first season airing in 2013. Since the inception of the franchise, a strong culture of online engagement, and Bachie is regularly a major part of Australian cultural conversation. This paper will examine the way in which...
Article
In the 1990s, a fascinating genre emerged: the virginity loss confessional genre, in which autobiographical stories of virginity loss are collected and curated. This article draws on the work of Michel Foucault and Kenneth Plummer to explicate the historical and theoretical bases behind this contemporary confessional storytelling practice, outlinin...
Conference Paper
In her 1996 book The Erotics of Talk, feminist scholar Carla Kaplan contends that because women’s voices are consistently marginalised in contemporary culture, many female characters in women’s writing are engaged in an ongoing search for an ideal listener: someone who will hear their voice and take them seriously. This is something that we can obs...
Conference Paper
Virginity and virginity loss has long been a contested space in constructions of femininity. In recent decades, as the figure of the virgin has become entangled with the figure of the girl instead of the unmarried woman, it has also become a fraught space in constructions of girlhood. As Hsu-Ming Teo has noted, the virgin “encode[s] a paradox of cu...
Conference Paper
“Girlhood is something that is both individually and collectively accomplished through participating in the social, material and discursive practices defining young femininity,” Sinikka Aapola, Marnina Gonick and Anita Harris write. This has the effect of constituting girlhood as a distinct cultural phenomenon and community. As the feminine is syst...
Conference Paper
Girlhood is a curiously liminal space. As Catherine Driscoll notes, it “feminine adolescence is performed in transitional roles – including daughter, virgin, bride, model, girlfriend, schoolgirl, shopper, dieter, and so on – that do not necessarily lead to the mature concretisation of Woman” (2013, 56-57). This makes it a contested space for identi...
Conference Paper
Historical romance is one of the most popular and recognisable sub-genres of the romance novel. The period setting is key to the construction of the romance: historical heroines often find themselves bound by more restrictive social rules than their contemporary sisters, particularly when it comes to appropriate female sexual behaviour. This rathe...
Article
In the romance novels published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, sex and love are inextricably intertwined. The governing paradigm of the romance is a concept I have termed ‘compulsory demisexuality’. Someone who is demisexual only experiences sexual attraction to someone with whom they have an emotional bond. In the romance, this means that sex is only...
Conference Paper
The virgin heroine has been a familiar figure in Harlequin Mills & Boon romance since the inception of the form. However, her portrayal has not remained static: as category romance has evolved, the representation of the virgin heroine, her hero, and the way in which romantic and erotic love is treated within the texts have changed. In this paper, I...
Conference Paper
There is an important emphasis on “one” in “one true love”. True love is coded as eternal and monogamous, fixed on one person, two people functioning as halves that become one completed unit. We will explore representations of this idea in teen television series The Vampire Diaries (Plec and Williamson 2010-). Heroine Elena is desired by two vamp...
Conference Paper
Australian author Anna Cowan’s Untamed was one of the most keenly anticipated and polarising debuts of 2013. A historical romance set during the Regency period, its heroine Kit is hard-working and is imbued with many qualities stereotypically coded masculine, while hero Jude, Duke of Darlington, is bisexual, has many traits coded feminine, and spen...
Conference Paper
“’I thought you didn’t make love. I thought you fucked – hard.” ...”I can make an exception, or maybe combine the two, we’ll see.”’ ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ The ‘Fifty Shades’ series (encompassing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’, and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’) have brought erotic fiction to a broader and more mainstream audience than e...
Conference Paper
In romance fiction, a genre largely written by and for women, the dominant paradigm is the idea of One True Love. It is a genre shaped by its ending: the ubiquitous ‘happily-ever-after’, when the two protagonists establish a long-term committed monogamous relationship. The stars of the lovers of romance are not crossed, but aligned: each represents...
Conference Paper
Romance fiction is a genre shaped by its ending. Romance novels document the journey towards a happily-ever-after – that is, the establishment of a long-term committed monogamous relationship between the two main protagonists. The protagonists effectively and inevitably become demisexual: unable to experience sexual attraction towards anyone but ea...
Conference Paper
The virgin heroine is one of the most recognisable figures in the romance novel. But she did not – as the romance novel did not – spring fully formed from the minds of Kathleen Woodiwiss and the authors of Mills & Boon. She has been present and prevalent in the novel since the inception of the form. This paper will look briefly at the virgin hero...
Conference Paper
While the significance of virginity has changed since the sexual revolution, virginity and virginity loss continue to be major social preoccupations. Virginity is a continually repeated motif in popular culture which features prominently in recent publishing phenomena Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, and has given rise to an interesting new genre...
Conference Paper
The theatrical popularity of Thomas Middleton has escalated dramatically in the past ten years. The publication of the Oxford Middleton and several high profile revivals of Women Beware Women, The Changeling and The Revenger’s Tragedy has seen him re-imagined as a Renaissance bad boy, Shakespeare’s cooler, edgier cousin. Middleton’s young, virginal...

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